School Closure

20th March 2020

Dear Parents

 

So today we sadly close our doors for ‘normal’ schooling. I cannot thank you enough for the support and kind offers of help that we have received.

 

On Monday we shift to the next phase which is childcare provision for those children who most need it and using Seesaw as a method of providing online learning for all children. Just a reminder from my previous letter, the tasks set will include:

 

-  A daily English task (via Seesaw)

-  A daily Maths task (via Seesaw)

-  A physical activity of choice – (eg.walk, ‘daily mile’, cycle, Tabata or fitness workouts- some great ones on youtube!)

-  20 minutes reading: This can be done using ‘Borrowbox’, their current reading book or any books from home.

 

…….and the optional extras as previously written. These activities will be set by teachers during term time only and teachers will be working normal school hours.

 

We still plan to send out a weekly newsletter during term time, however as I am sure you can appreciate there will be no newsletter this week as we have had to direct our time and energy elsewhere!

 

Plans for Childcare Provision for ‘Key Workers’: Over the past couple of days we have been able to plan for the childcare that the government have asked us to provide. The plan is as follows:

 

- From Monday (March 23rd) there will be an offer of childcare from 8am- 6pm for children who need it on any given day (see below for a definition of ‘need’ and for children who are eligible);

 

- This will not be a ‘drop-in’ facility. Children’s attendance will only be by advance arrangement or, in emergencies.

 

- A guiding principle will always be in place that the safety of the children is paramount, if we are unable to provide safe care for any given child due to staff shortages or lack of expertise, we will not be able to cater for that child until we can make it safe to do so.

 

Please note that this is not ‘normal’ school provision – it is an emergency childcare initiative which will be safe and enjoyable for everyone involved but will not be the equivalent of normal school provision in terms of the educational content of each day. Having said that, the day will mirror the day of those not in school- and they will have opportunity to access the online English task and Maths task and they will complete a creative activity and a form of physical activity.

 

Eligible Children: The government has now provided a comprehensive list of ‘Key Workers’ within the information to be found at the following link:https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision.

Please note that the guidance refers to ‘essential’ workers for many of the groups. As an example, local NHS trusts have already identified groups of workers who can work from home, so simply working for the NHS does not qualify a family for these arrangements. If you are unsure if you qualify as a key worker the please contact your employer for confirmation.

 

The guidance also clarifies ‘vulnerable children’ as those, “with safeguarding and welfare needs, including child in need plans, on child protection plans, ‘looked after’ children, young carers, disabled children and those with education, health and care (EHC) plans.”. Parents of children who fall into this category either have been, or will be, contacted separately. 

 

Please also note the guiding principles within the information:

 

  1.If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be;

 

  2.If a child needs specialist support, is vulnerable or has a parent who is a critical worker, then educational provision will be available for them;

 

  3.Parents should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions;

 

  4.Parents should also do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. They should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.

 

In order to best protect both children and staff during this crisis, we will be asking that childcare is requested only where there is a ‘need’. Although having one ‘critical worker’ in the household may qualify your child for this provision, we would expect that if there is a non-critical worker in the home capable of basic childcare during the day that guiding principle 1 should be the starting point for families. The guidance reaffirms this stance with the following statement:

“Many parents working in these critical sectors may be able to ensure their child is kept at home. Every child who can be safely cared for at home should be.”

 

We would ask that all families consider the impact on themselves, their families and others in terms of the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) before requesting childcare.

 

In the event that we have too many children for our capacity then priority of the childcare offer will be given to parents who are either single and a key worker or where both parents are key workers. 

 

ACTION NEEDED:

 

  • Regardless of whether you have already contacted the school, if you believe that you qualify for the childcare arrangements AND whether you think that you may need to use them please could you complete the form attached and email this back to me by the end of today so that we are able to prepare a staff rota for next week. We cannot promise care for children next week if we hear from you later than today.

 

Last of all, it saddens me hugely to be closing the school gates today but keeping everyone safe is the most important thing for us to remember. We shall all miss the children’s smiley faces and whole school community hugely.

 

Please take care and stay safe all!

 

Mrs K Butcher x